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 Santa Barbara Horticultural Attractions




Gardens to Visit

Madame Ganna Walska, a well-known Polish opera singer and socialite, purchased the Montecito, California estate in 1941 and spent the next 43 years creating Lotusland, which is now recognized as one of the ten best gardens in the world. When Madame Ganna Walska died in 1984, she left her jewel of a garden to the Ganna Walska Lotusland Foundation. Tours are 10 AM & 1:30 PM, Wed-Sat between Mid Feb. and Mid Nov.  Reservations are required. To make a reservation call Visitor Services at 805-969-9990.  Click here for Corey Welles' Insectary Garden Resources.

With sweeping views to the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Santa Barbara Channel Islands and stunning landscapes, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a great place to explore California's native plant diversity.  The Garden's 78 acres encompass a variety of cultivated displays as well as stands of natural coast live oak and riparian woodlands.  The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden welcomes visitors seven days a week, rain or shine. The Garden is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and during some special events. 9 am to 6 pm ~ March – October; 9 am to 5 pm ~ November – February.   (805) 682-4726 

The Casa del Herrero, designed by architect George Washington Smith and completed in 1925, is noted as one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture in America, is included on the National Register of Historic Places, and in January 2009, was designated a National Historic Landmark by then Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne.  Casa del Herrero’s eleven-acre estate is open to the public for  adults and children age 10 and above. Public tours may be reserved on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. For information or reservations, call 805-565-5653 or

La Huerta Historic Gardens is a living Museum of botanical heritage at the Santa Barbara Mission. The garden portrays the botanic history of Spain’s agricultural transformation of the California landscape by preserving authentic and ancient plants collected from sites where rare Mission-Era (1769-1834) varieties survived. Within the protected walls of this orchard-garden, virtually all the introduced plant materials (seeds, cuttings, and other clones) needed to support the Mission were planted in the ground. The success of these early agrarian outposts relied on the carefully planted and cared for huertas and jardins and dry land grains.  Tours are available with 10 person minimum and 2 week advance reservation. (805) 682-4713 x 166

Public Parks

Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden features a large botanical collection of 75 different tree and plant species included in the Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden Self-Guided Tree & Plant Tour; koi pond; sensory garden with audio posts and interpretive Braille signs; low water-use demonstration garden, walking paths, picnic areas; and Gazebo.

The A.C. Postel Memorial Rose Garden, adjacent to the Santa Barbara Mission, contains over 1,500 rose plants and is maintained throughout the year by Rose Society members, Parks Division caretaker staff, and volunteers.

For many years the All-American Rose Selections designated the Garden as one of 130+ demonstration rose gardens throughout the country, displaying the top performing new rose varieties developed and selected each year after an extensive two-year trial program where they are judged on 15 characteristics – from disease resistance and flower production to color and fragrance.  A significant portion of the roses displayed in the garden are past A.A.R.S. winners.

Alameda Park (Alameda Plazas) is one of the City’s oldest parks and is actually a two-block park consisting of unique rare trees (see The Alameda Plazas Self-Guided Tree Tour), a bandstand, picnic sites, and Kid’s World, an 8,000 square foot playground with a castle, swings, slides; and two reservable party sites.

This park was once the home of famed botanist Francesco Franceschi. Franceschi Park affords a panoramic view of the City of Santa Barbara and its spectacular setting. The park provides a tranquil horticultural resource for the community where the pioneering work of Dr. Franceschi is honored and continued; horticultural education is promoted; passive recreation is encouraged; and the aesthetics of Mediterranean climate landscape is celebrated.  Here is an interesting article written by Susan Chamberlin and published in Pacific Horticulture.

he Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden Foundation is dedicated to fostering the discovery and deeper understanding of the natural world and an appreciation of the significance of nature in our lives, encouraging children to explore, adults to learn, and individuals of all ages to pause to enjoy a relaxed moment looking at the beauty of nature and discovering the beauty, serenity and the joys of the natural environment and its significance in our lives.

Santa Barbara City College campus features two gardens of interest.  Chumash Point holds a collection of plants native to locally specific areas of California's south central coast that are culturally important to the Chumash. Plant materials indigenous to the four most northern Channel islands, San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and the Anacapas.  In Lifescape Garden, Lab classes utilize the hundreds of native and exotic plants, coastal soils and varied topography of the Garden to learn a variety of landscaping tools and techniques.  Both areas are open to the public for free, from dawn to dusk.

Horticultural Societies

The Santa Barbara County Horticultural Society meets on the first Wednesday of every month in the auditorium at the Trinity Lutheran Church at the corner of Foothill Road and La Cumbre Road at 7:00 pm. Visitors are always welcome. The General Meetings feature local experts speaking about a wide variety of horticultural topics ranging from ethnobotany to pollinators, landscape design to habitat restoration. There is a monthly Display Table where members are encouraged to bring specimen plants or other items of horticultural interest and introduce them to the group. A plant raffle is at the end of each meeting. Refreshments are provided and all are welcome to attend. If you are interested in Membership, see the Membership page for more information.  Please take a look at current Newsletter for information on upcoming speakers and events.

Their mission is to provide opportunities for fellowship and exchange of information among persons sharing an interest in succulents; to encourage, promote and support all aspects of the responsible collection, culture, study and conservation of succulent plants; and to provide opportunities for the exchange and exhibition of succulent plants.

Regular meetings of the Orchid Society of Santa Barbara are held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month. Doors open at 7:15 pm for setup, the meeting begins at 7:30 pm and usually ends at 9:30 pm. Guests are welcome to join the meetings.  Activities include American Orchid Society Judging, guest speakers presenting a variety of interesting and informative orchid topics each month, a Member Plant Show Table and a Plant Opportunity Table.  Meetings are announced on their website.

The Central Coast Geranium Society is a club for people who are interested in plants in the Geranium Family. The official purposes "shall be the stimulation of interest in and the culture of the Geranium family; to cooperate with interested organizations; to improve standards of excellence and to study methods of culture, and by such activity bring about a social relationship that will enhance the happiness of its members."

The Santa Barbara Rose Society was established in 1959. It is a non-profit society, devoted to sharing knowledge about roses, rose culture and the pleasure of rose gardening.  You will find information here about all aspects of roses, the national flower of the United States. Monthly Meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month (except July, August and December). The refreshments and rose display begin at 7:00 PM. The meeting and program begin at 7:30 PM at Trinity Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, Our monthly meetings feature knowledgeable guest speakers on rose-related topics. The meetings are free and open to the public. Visitors are always welcome!


Home to one of the world's foremost collections of orchid species and hybrids. Established in 1957 amidst five acres of beautiful coastal Santa Barbara landscape, SBOE offers to the admirer, occasional hobbyist, budding student of orchids, seasoned grower or avid orchidist alike, a diversity of orchids and an understanding of orchid culture bound to challenge and delight. Visitors are always welcome, so join them anytime!

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